For today’s Sunday Dinner, I invited Rachelle Paige Campbell. Rachelle writes contemporary romance novels filled with heart and hope. She believes love and laughter can change lives, and every story needs a happily ever after.
Sunday Dinner is a traditional (noon) meal served after church on Sundays. Whole families, including extended family, would gather over a large meal to celebrate a day of rest. Multiple cultures enjoy this Sunday Dinner tradition. In my experience, I know it from both my Midwestern farm family as well as my Italian-American family. Now, I’d like to bring Sunday Dinner virtually to you. So, pull up a chair as we invite various guests to join us each week!
Without further ado, please tell us interesting readers would enjoy learning about you.
I earned my masters’ degree in Fine and Decorative Arts from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. I love to include Art History elements in my novels so I have an excuse to research.
Can you tell us about your latest novel?
Her One in a Million (Home to Harmony 3)
While renovating the MacKinnon mansion, Samantha “Sam” Holt discovers three prized ceramics in a wall. The one in a million find could provide much needed funds for the restoration—and her family’s struggling auction business. She calls a Chicago expert for a second opinion.
Zachary Reynolds arrives with his five-year-old daughter in tow, intending to leave with the vases immediately. Partly because the pottery won’t reach its six-figure potential in a small-town sale, but mostly because the ceramics will secure his job in an impending merger with a larger firm—and he needs that guaranteed stability for his daughter.
Sam and Zach both need the pottery for very personal reasons, but only one can emerge victorious. As they research the history of the pieces and the mansion, however, the best choice isn’t clear-cut. Add in romantic feelings neither of them expected and things become even more complicated. With the odds stacked against them, can they both achieve the financial and personal success they crave?
For those who may not know, can you describe Newcomb College Art Pottery?
Newcomb College was founded after Josephine Newcomb gave a large financial gift to Tulane to establish a women’s college in honor of her late daughter. The pottery department developed in the late nineteenth century from the art classes. The pottery is very reflective of the Art Noveau style. Some pieces are painted and some are carved. Uniquely, the program provided the women an opportunity to make money in a time when employment opportunities were very limited.
What is the importance of Newcomb College Art Pottery to history and your story?
The title Her One in a Million refers to the heroine’s discovery of a set of three Newcomb pottery pieces (jardinieres and a vase) in the wall of a historic house. It is a valuable find that sets the story in motion and brings the hero to the small town to investigate. The reason the pottery was hidden becomes an added mystery to the story (that I won’t spoil here) and including those details was a lot of fun.
What research was required to write about Newcomb College Art Pottery?
After grad school, I worked as a specialist for an auction house in the furniture and decorative arts department. It was a whirlwind! I learned so much from the hands-on work of evaluating pieces for auction. I first came across Newcomb Art Pottery on the job and have been fascinated by it ever since. I had a general idea about the pottery style and look. But I love research and will never turn down the opportunity. The artist is my invention.
Were resources easy or difficult to find? Do you have a favorite resource?
My favorite resource was Kovels’ American Art Pottery book. Ralph and Terry Kovel published many wonderful guides to antiques together. Additionally, I love the art and antiques of the late nineteenth century. I live very close to a farm that has been transformed into a private museum of Arts and Crafts furniture and decorative arts. Seeing pottery in situ with the furniture of the time period was really exciting. (Crab Tree Farm. Check it out if you can, open for tours at limited times.)
What is one piece of your research that you couldn’t include in the book, but wish readers could know?
I did a lot of research about steamboats on the Mississippi River. I’m fascinated by the towns that were so prosperous during the nineteenth century and have since faded. While the discovery in my fictional town is entirely imagined, valuable antiques are out there in small towns waiting to be discovered.
Do you have another book in the works? What can you tell us about that book?
I have the fourth—and final—book in the Home to Harmony series in the works. It is a Christmas book that includes baking, a nativity play, and all the festive fun of the season. In a series about forgiveness, the last book has the toughest hurdles for the characters.
The afternoon is slipping away, so we have to draw the stories to an end. Rachelle, thank you for joining us today!
If readers would like to purchase a copy of Her One in a Million, where might they be able to do so?
- Her One in a Million is available at your favorite retailers (releases 9/6)
If readers would like to learn about you or your other books, how might they find you online?
If you want writing updates, sales alerts, and information about new releases first, sign up for my newsletter.
Over Sunday Dinner next week historical romance author Shannon McNear will be be joining us. See you then!